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Master of Political Science


Study a Master of Political Science at one of the world’s leading institutions for political research. This intensive degree focuses on the contemporary politics of Australia and the Asia-Pacific region and equips students with cutting-edge analytical skills they need for independent research. Students can choose from a wide range of courses covering terrorism, human rights, interest group advocacy or Islam and democracy. They will benefit from small seminar groups taught by our renowned academics. 

As an ANU student you will learn from academics who provide regular policy advice to the Australian and foreign governments. You will have the opportunity to attend guest lectures from visiting academics and policymakers in Australia’s political capital.

ANU is ranked #1 in Australia and #11 in the world for Politics.

Our programs

Master of Political Science

The Master of Political Science deals with the scientific study of political behaviour. It applies social science research methods to advance our understanding of a wide range of political phenomena from voting behavior to civil war, from regime change to corruption. Our program provides you with the analytical frameworks and research skills needed to understand contemporary political events - from the immigration policies of the Trump administration to the leadership conflicts within Australia’s political parties.

Learn more about the program structure and courses.

Master of Political Science (Advanced)

The Master of Political Science (Advanced) provides a pathway to doctoral programs that have a research thesis as a prerequisite. In addition to the coursework component, you will also complete a substantial original thesis as evidence of your mastery of the relevant substantive knowledge and methodological skills. You will be taught and supervised by internationally recognised research scholars. These skills open the pathway to further study and to research-oriented careers in both public and private sector.

Learn more about the program structure and courses.

Career pathways

The Master of Political Science provides students with the analytical tools they need to answer a range of critical questions - What motivates voters to support populist candidates? How can election outcomes be more accurately forecast? What is the source of ethnic conflicts and how can it be best understood? The program provides training in political science research methods and equips students with in-depth knowledge on contemporary political affairs. Students can choose from a wide selection of topics covering terrorism and counter-terrorism, human rights, interest group advocacy or Islam and democracy. The program will be of interest to those intending to pursue research-oriented careers in government, international organisations, NGOs and private bodies, and to those intending further study in the field. Internationally recognised, this Master degree also paves the way to pursuing a PhD overseas.

Our degrees will prepare you with the necessary skills to advance your career in a wide range of professions such as:

  • Consultancies
  • Diplomatic / Foreign service
  • Foreign affairs
  • Government and public service
  • Intergovernmental agencies
  • International trade and business
  • International development and aid
  • Journalism
  • Multinational corporations
  • Private not for profit
  • University teaching and research
  • Think tanks, policy institutes, and research centres

Study with the experts

You will learn from internationally recognised research scholars who provide regular policy advice to the Australian and foreign governments:

  • Dr Svitlana Chernykh – specialises in democratisation; elections; post-election disputes; Executive-legislative relations; comparative constitutional design.
  • Professor Edward Aspinall – specialises in Indonesian national politics; Southeast Asian politics; democratisation; social movements; nationalism and ethnic conflict.
  • Professor Patrick Dumont – specialises in political elites; Executive-legislative relations, parties and party systems; Coalition Theory and elections.
  • Dr Matthew Kerby – specialises in-comparative government and politics; political elites; Canadian and Irish politics.
  • Dr Katrin Travouillon – specialises in transformation of Cambodia’s political system; identities, ideas and interests of Cambodia’s political actors.

Want to know more?

Enquire now to hear more from ANU or email us at asiapacific@anu.edu.au to organise a time to talk with current students, program advisers, or the academics who teach this program.


Graduate profile

Meet Asuka

Meet Asuka Katsuno

I'm particularly interested in global health policy, and opportunities to contribute with NGOs and humanitarian organisations.

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Meet Avnav

I came to study International Relations at ANU to fulfill a childhood dream. I always knew that I wanted to study overseas and the first time I saw the ANU campus was such a moment of pride. The program has provided the best academic expertise and amazing opportunities for me to engage in contemporary content as a student.

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Yuri Handayani

Meet Yuri Handayani

I decided to study at the Dept of IR at ANU as it is well known as the best IR centre in Australia and ranks sixth in the world. I found all the courses interesting, but the 'IR Theory' and 'Human Security' courses are among the best and most challenging ones. These courses forced me to think critically and systematically.

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Meet Stephan Modest

Originally from Germany and fluent in three languages, Stephan moved to Canberra to study his Master of International Relations at ANU. Among other reasons, he chose ANU because the Coral Bell School of Asia and the Pacific is well renowned for its amazing think tanks and world-leading academics.

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Meet Riana

Meet Riana

I decided to study at ANU because the Department of International Relations in the Coral Bell School is well known as the best International Relations centre in Australia and ranks seventh in the world.

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Meet Georgie Hicks

To anyone with a STEM background looking to study International Relations: don’t be put off by the potentially daunting switch from the world of scientific facts and quantified uncertainty to the inexact, subjective world of politics. It can be hard to make that cognitive switch at first, but learning to think and write in different ways and understanding global forces can only help with your endeavours, even if those endeavours remain in the realm of science.

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 Xueyin Zha

Meet Xueyin Zha

Zha came to the Australian National University (ANU) after living and studying in several countries. Having studied sociology and history in her undergraduate degree in the United States, she wanted to bring her analytical skills closer to policy applications.

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Meet Josie Hornung

Meet Josie Hornung

I chose the IR program at ANU because it is the top ranked in Australia. I wanted a program that would challenge me intellectually, and improve my chances of fulfilling my career goals.

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Meet Jamal Nabulsi

Jamal came to study at ANU for the opportunity to learn from world-leading academics. Soon after commencing his study, Jamal began to work as a Policy Analyst at the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

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Meet Patrick Griffiths

"With its focus on the intersection of history, culture and politics, a Master in International Relations at ANU became a pretty clear choice. I chose ANU because of its proximity to government in Canberra and its high international rankings".

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Meet Allison Kephart

“As someone who hopes to work throughout Asia and the Pacific as a future career path, it was invaluable to get such a multifaceted understanding of the region through both my coursework and the political exposure provided by being in Canberra and amongst students from across the region”.

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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team